17 May 2024

Glasgow tunes up for Scotland’s biggest week of bagpipes

Glasgow is set to host Scotland’s biggest week of bagpipes with the return of two firmly-established summer highlights of the city’s events programme.

Piping Live! takes place from Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 August, and The World Pipe Band Championships 2024 will be held on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 August.

Piping Live!, the world’s biggest piping festival, attracts over 30,000 attendees to Glasgow each year. Run by the National Piping Centre and now in its 21st year, the festival is staged at venues across the city.

This year’s extensive and lively programme features a wide range of ticketed and free events including concerts, competitions, recitals and music workshops. One of the early highlights of the 9-day festival – and an annual favourite – is The Piping Live! Big Band. The popular mass participation event will once again fill the streets with music on Monday 12 August when pipers and drummers of all ages and all abilities come together to play and march from Mansfield Park in Partick to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Full details of the Piping Live! programme and event tickets are available at www.pipinglive.co.uk.

General tickets for The World Pipe Band Championships 2024 are also now available and can be purchased from www.theworlds.co.uk. (Grade 1 tickets are to be released soon).

The World Pipe Band Championships – which Glasgow first hosted in 1948 and the city has staged every year since 1986 – sees the finest pipers and drummers on the planet converging annually on Glasgow Green to compete in the ultimate ‘battle of the bands’.

Organised on behalf of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association by Glasgow Life, the iconic event is always greatly anticipated by the global piping scene. Last year’s two-day Championships, which attracted 35,000 spectators, featured 190 bands representing 15 nations. The spectacular finale saw just under 9,000 pipers and drummers gathering to play together before long-established Scottish band Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia were crowned 2023 World Champions.

This year’s ‘Worlds’ promises another superb showcase of piping and drumming, and – judging from the very strong contingent of bands already signed up – another hard-fought contest. A tremendous turn-out is once again expected at Glasgow Green for the event on 16th and 17th August and everyone planning to attend is being encouraged not to delay in booking their tickets.

Glasgow Life Chair and Glasgow City Council Convenor for Culture, Sport and International Relations, Bailie Annette Christie, said: "As a UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow has a great international reputation as a fantastic destination for lovers of all types of music, and there’s certainly nowhere better to enjoy world-class piping. With the city hosting both the world’s biggest piping festival and the pinnacle of the global piping competitive calendar, Glasgow is looking forward to resounding with our national instrument’s very best talent in August.

"Celebrating Scotland’s culture and music and providing fantastic entertainment, Piping Live! and the Worlds are firmly established highlights of the city’s summer events programme. Attracting thousands of pipers and spectators, boosting Glasgow’s visitor economy and further enhancing its international profile, these much-loved events are extremely important to our city.

"We are therefore proud to continue our support of these outstanding piping extravaganzas, and look forward to welcoming audiences from near and far to enjoy the incredible experience the two events offer.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: "Piping events in Scotland offer the perfect fusion of both traditional and contemporary culture, evoking a deep sense of pride for both locals and enthusiasts worldwide. They play an important role in our communities, enabling us all to connect, enjoy and share memorable experiences.”

“Both Piping Live! and The World Pipe Band Championships offer incredible displays of talent, skill and expression, drawing pipers and audiences from far and wide.   Glasgow’s renowned warm welcome and vibrant venues provide the perfect stage for two of the city’s most cherished summer events, and further strengthen Scotland’s position as a world-leading events destination."

Finlay MacDonald, Artistic Director for Piping Live!, said: "We are proud and excited to be able to bring the 21st edition of Piping Live! To the city of Glasgow. We are thankful to our supporters, performers, participants and funders who have continued to support this event through some challenging times for the creative industries.

"As the popularity of piping and traditional music continues to grow and thrive, we have created a diverse, inclusive and engaging programme, showcasing the breadth and depth of the piping traditions whilst celebrating world, indigenous and modern traditional music. There are opportunities for pipers of all levels and ages, whether in competitions, at our Big Band event, or for those who fancy a go, our come and Try Sessions. You don’t have to be a piper to enjoy and take part in Piping Live!, Piping is for everyone and we look forward to bringing the sound of the pipes to the streets of Glasgow."

Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Chief Executive, Colin Mulhern, said: "Last year’s spectacular World Pipe Band Championships, which attracted a fantastic attendance from bands from almost every corner of the globe as well as spectators from near and far, demonstrated just how much this iconic event means to the international piping community, and how much interest there is in the music of Scotland’s national instrument.

"This year’s ‘Worlds’ promises another superb showcase of piping and drumming, and – judging from the number and very strong contingent of bands already signed up – we can look forward to an incredible, hard-fought contest. We’re expecting a tremendous turn-out at Glasgow Green on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 August, so are urging everyone planning to attend not to delay in booking their tickets so they don’t miss out on a truly unforgettable experience."